Two Covid-19 cases in the Waikato have thrown a late wrench into whatever plans the Government will announce today for Auckland.
Areas south of Auckland to Hamilton city and Raglan have been plunged into alert level 3 restrictions in a new cluster that yesterday had yet to be linked to the main Delta outbreak. That status will be reassessed after five days.
A separate case of a truck driver who was in Palmerston North while working is not causing the same concern because of a confirmed link to Auckland.
The Cabinet was due to make a significant call today on whether Auckland stays in level 3 or drops to level 2. A decision was made last week that Auckland's border would remain in place for now regardless of any change.
The prospect of a potential drop was controversial before the announcement of the Waikato cases, with pandemic health experts publicly speaking out against any shift.
The new developments appear to have strengthened that position. Possibly any change could be put on hold this week while health officials delve into the origins of the Waikato cases.
However, the Prime Minister's comments yesterday on vaccinations - delivered in a more forceful tone after weeks of trying to coax the unvaccinated to just get on with it - suggest the Government is still focused on its overall course.
Jacinda Ardern said today's announcement would be a "roadmap forward for Auckland".
She said that while 887,000 people eligible for shots were still unvaccinated, 79 per cent of those 4.21 million Kiwis had received at least one dose.
Ardern referred to new requirements for any visiting non-citizens to be vaccinated and Air New Zealand's statement that it would operate international flights with adult passengers fully inoculated from February.
But the Prime Minister also was not letting this fresh crisis go to waste, stressing the importance of high levels of vaccination and that the "virus is literally finding unvaccinated people" to infect.
If people wanted to avoid level 3 restrictions, they needed to get vaccinated. Only by reaching a high vaccination goal would authorities have different options in dealing with Covid, she said.
The majority of New Zealanders - three and a half million at the latest count - are partially or fully vaccinated. Those bemused at why anyone wouldn't want free and safe protection from the coronavirus can only hope that this will act as a spur to more people doing their bit for all of us.
As Harvard associate professor of health Bill Hanage tweeted at the weekend: "Delta is highly transmissible and really good at finding pockets of unvaccinated people. The more such pockets there are, the more people will die unnecessarily. You can't hope Delta will somehow miss you, that's not how this works."
There is more evidence that vaccination is the key and not just for avoiding severe Covid outcomes. A new study found that people who were vaccinated but still got so-called breakthrough infections were less likely to then transmit Covid. That's important considering Delta is spreading in households here. Getting a shot will help protect whānau.
There was also positive news of an antiviral pill being developed by Merck which reportedly reduces risk of hospitalisation and death. It could help efforts to live with the coronavirus under looser borders next year.
With daily numbers fluctuating rather than sliding, some unlinked cases popping up, rule breaches and a short supply of patience, mental exhaustion with the outbreak is widespread in Auckland.
If daily case numbers can be kept to below 50 while vaccinations get to desired levels, then it will be a job well done by international standards.